Scientists have found that beetroot juice can help lower blood pressure. In the study, patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) drank 250 ml of beetroot juice per day. “On average, systolic blood pressure dropped by 11.2 mmHg for three to six hours after drinking the juice”, reports the Austrian journal “Ärzte Woche”. Even 24 hours after consuming the juice measured blood pressure levels had still remained significantly lower.
This positive impact on blood pressure is the result of nitrate contained in beetroot juice. Yet in order to achieve its full potential, nitrate relies on a crucial player: bacteria on the tongue.
As the journal explains, once the inorganic nitrate (NO3–) contained in beetroots comes in contact with saliva, the bacteria metabolise it into bioactive organic nitrite (NO2–), which is then turned into nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide in turn dilates the blood vessels, thus improving the flow of blood. The result: a drop in blood pressure.